Welcome to theBad.net Lee Van Cleef Blog! Here you will find information, photos, videos, and some of my opinions of the badman himself.

Many thanks to the wonderful members of theBad.net Lee Van Cleef Web Board for their contributions and continued enthusiasm!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Armed Response - Los Angeles Times Review


Movie Review : Revenge Plot Triggers This 'Armed Response'
December 08, 1986  MICHAEL WILMINGTON

There are good movies, and bad movies, and more than a few Ba-a-a-a-d movies. Then there are a few good bad movies. Not praiseworthy--but still, somehow you can enjoy them: as Saturday afternoon time-soakers, if nothing else. That's the category "Armed Response" (which opened citywide Friday) belongs in. 
On the surface, it's another dumb, overviolent, bawdy, bloody, tasteless revenge thriller. There's some sort of absurd feud going on involving Japanese yakuza gangsters encroaching on Chinatown Mafia turf--and a priceless jade statuette (a Tong falcon?) intended as a peacemaker. 
There's a crooked private eye, Cory (Ross Hagen) who's trying to double-cross everyone, and a busty hit woman who's stolen the jade, and a family caught in between: the Roths--who run an unlikely Chinatown bar called the Mimosa, where they exchange salty, jocular family insults and bash punks who wander in. This clan includes a battle-scarred Vietnam vet (David Carradine), his gorgeous wife and winsome daughter, two apparent male models, and a cantankerous, glowering old patriarch (Lee Van Cleef). 
Pretty soon, Cory's machinations have them all hip-deep in trouble: pursued by yakuza king Akira Tanaka (Mako) and his bloodcurdling goons, and forced to do what a man's gotta do--an agenda which includes mayhem, sadistic badinage ("Rest in Pieces," one says to a fallen foe) and machine-gun battles in a mysteriously deserted but fully lit Chinatown. 
So, why is this movie good-bad rather than B-a-a-a-a-d? It's a matter of attitude. The people who made it--director Fred Olen Ray, writer T. K. Lankford, Carradine, Van Cleef, Hagen, Mako, Dick Miller, Michael Berryman (a grotesque gargoyle of a hoodlum)--keep projecting a certain self-awareness, self-mockery and workman-like zest: an engaging shoulder-shrugging manner that seems to suggest, "Hey, you know this stuff is silly. We know it's silly. But--what the hell--let's just relax, play everything to the hilt, and see if we can't have a few laughs along the way." 
A good example occurs in the scene where the perfidious Tanaka ties down Roth and begins torturing him with acupuncture and ghetto blaster, while his minions leer fiendishly. Just at the point when your mind registers "racism," Tanaka (elegantly played by Mako) stops, muses and says, "Isn't this all a bit archaic? Once again we have the evil yellow man torturing the valiant white hero. Ah, well. . . ." In the next scene, there's a Boris Karloff "Mr. Wong" movie playing on the Mimosa Bar TV. See what we mean? 
The movie (rated R) is played at such a low-life pitch, the better actors get such vulgar spontaneity going, and the brutally cynical jokes are tempered with such a grimy wink, that you get caught up despite yourself. Now, that isn't to say there isn't a lot of rancid stuff in "Armed Response": stiff performances, racial stereotypes, offensive junk, nonsense, holes in the plot. There is. That's why it's a good bad movie, rather than a good--or mediocre--one. Don't say we didn't warn you.

http://articles.latimes.com/1986-12-08/entertainment/ca-1803_1_armed-response

Saturday, January 12, 2019

DVD Review: The Hard Way



As there is no blu-ray release of The Hard Way, I have opted to give a DVD review of the best quality version of this DVD on the market.

The Hard Way is an interesting British telefilm from the late 70's starring Patrick McGoohan (The Prisoner) and Lee Van Cleef, both about 10 years past the height of their careers.  This is a typical cat and mouse type hitman movie, after McGoohan double-crosses LVC for not doing that "one last job".  The standout performance is McGoohan's, but LVC is dependable here, playing the villain nicely.

Unfortunately this DVD has only been available in Europe, and as such is region 2/PAL encoded (making it unplayable on most US DVD players)


VIDEO

As this was a telemovie made by ITC, it was shot full frame (4:3).  Overall the image is nice, with occasional film scratching.

Screencaps below-








AUDIO
A decent mono mix.  English only.


EXTRAS
  • Trailer
  • Video slideshow of posters and stills (including some LVC stills from Escape From New York oddly enough)

Highly recommended for LVC fans.  An excellent example of some of the smaller somber films made in this era.

THE GOOD:
  • Decent image quality

THE BAD
  • Region 2 (UK) only

 Amazon.co.uk - The Hard Way DVD


Saturday, January 5, 2019

California Highway



For a long time LVC researchers have heard of a mysterious TV series from 1985 called California Highway. It supposedly starred Lee. Well finally Tom Prickett found a mention of it and a link to a YouTube post showing the opening credits and song. The song is in English, but the commentary aftewards is in German. Lee is shown in the opening credits but was he the host, did he just make a guest appearance, or did he just appear in the opening credits?  One mystery solved, the show did exist, the other mystery continues, what was Lee's primary role in the show?

Thanks to Tom Betts for bringing this to the attention of the LVC Web Board!  Video below!